What's better than comic books? Free comic books.
And this weekend, National Free Comic Book Day, which might as well be renamed "Pre-Phoenix Comicon Happy Fun Day" will be celebrated with tons of giveaways and festivities held across geek-filled shops across the Valley.
Here are just five parties (and spots to score the best comic books) that you're not going to want to miss:
1. Gotham City Comics (Mesa)
This relatively new kid on the block comic shop is chock full of interesting comic art, books, and figurines of all kinds, as well as manga and anime items.
What's particularly cool about this shop is its in-house coffee bar and lounge areas, because nothing sucks more than being stuck inside a small comic shop with no caffeine.
Gotham City Comics & Coffee is located at 46 W. Main Street in Mesa. Call 480-649-3065 or visit the store's Twitter page for more information.
2. Jesse James Comics (Glendale)
Jesse James Comics is another huge comic shop settled in the West Valley. With the store's tons of back issues, mad collection of action figures, and a recently opened ice cream parlor, Jesse James is a definite stop to make on Free Comic Book Day.
Jesse James Comics is at 10802 North 43rd St. in Phoenix. Check out the Jesse James website for more information.
3. Samurai Comics (Phoenix)
Old hands at the Free Comic Book Day celebrations, Samurai Comics always brings out the big guns with storm troopers and contests throughout the day. Both Indian School and Camelback locations will have some planned festivities so whichever spot you choose, you're sure to have a good and nerdy time.
Samurai Comics is at 1051 E. Camelback Rd. and 10720 W. Indian School Rd. #61in Phoenix. See the Samurai website for more info.
4. Atomic Comics (Phoenix/Paradise Valley/Mesa)
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Another oldie but goodie, Atomic Comics is one of the go-to places for fun on Free Comic Book Day. This year all four locations plan to have artist sketches for donations and 50 percent off all back issues for the duration of the weekend, as well as separate special guests for each store. See the website for location details and more information.
5. SMoCA (Scottsdale)
Wait a minute! A museum participating in Free Comic Book Day? While SMoCA might not be playing host to the Mandalorian Mercs or handing out free comics, but they will be featuring two new comic-theme exhibitions done by local artist Jon Haddock.